I recently had the privilege to pinch-hit as a worship leader for a pastor friend of mine in Knoxville, Tennessee. The proposed month-long fill-in serving with Dave Thomas and his congregation evolved into a seven-month stint, but it was well worth the experience. The people of this church genuinely wanted to worship.
Over the course of the seven months serving them, I found myself wanting to try things to see if they would respond in genuine worship. I thought if I changed song styles or did something out of the box, certainly someone would come to me and complain. I led with the choir; I led worship with their praise team. We had soloists. We had duets. We had choral songs. We had contemporary songs. We sang hymns.
No matter the song or style, everyone seemed to engage in worship. Now, keep in mind only God knows our hearts, so only He knows if folks genuinely were worshipping. But it seemed to me they were. I was amazed. Especially when you hear the statistics about how most churches argue the most over the music used during worship.
One Sunday I brought in a painter to lead us in worship through art. The church responded in genuine worship. One week I pulled up a whiteboard, led the church in Laura Story’s “Indescribable,” made well known by Chris Tomlin. Then I asked people to come up and write on the whiteboard ONE word that described God to them.
I was amazed at the reaction. The first ones out of the seats were the kindergarten-aged students who came up and wrote words like, “Awesome,” “Powerful,” “Creator,” “Savior.” Many were weeping before the service was over, myself included. When people are gathered in community to focus on Christ, they experience authentic worship, and God shows up and does incredible things. I am grateful for friends at Buffat Heights for being sensitive to God’s Spirit and truly desiring to worship God. Thank you, Pastor Dave, for giving me this opportunity to experience genuine worship with an awesome community.
Are you seeing the benefit of worship in your faith community?
Tell me about it, leave me a comment below.